September 8, 2014 / 10:34 AM / 5 years ago

Athabasca raises capital budget, says CEO to retire

(Reuters) - Canada’s Athabasca Oil Corp (ATH.TO) increased its capital budget for the year and said its chief executive of seven years would retire on Sept. 30.

The company, which processes oil sands, raised its capital budget by C$140 million to C$667 million ($611 million) for 2014 but maintained its production forecast for second half of the year.

Athabasca Oil, which last month closed the sale of its 40 percent interest in the Dover oil sands project to a unit of PetroChina Co Ltd (601857.SS), said it expected average production of 6,000-6,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) for the second half of 2014.

The company said Tom Buchanan, currently chairman of the board, would replace Sveinung Svarte as CEO. Svarte will remain on the board as vice chairman.

Athabasca Oil forecast lower capital expenditure of about C$450 million to C$500 million for 2015. The company said it expected to produce about 8,000-9,000 boe/d based on this spending.

The company said on Monday its Hangingstone project 1 near Fort McMurray in Alberta remains on track for first steam at the end of the first quarter of 2015, with production ramp-up starting about mid-year.

Athabasca said it would continue to evaluate joint ventures for its assets, both light oil and thermal oil, for future funding.

The company’s shares closed at C$7.36 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(1 US dollar = 1.0901 Canadian dollar)

Reporting By Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila

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